Favourite instance

It’s the time of year to look back and do lists of the good, the bad and the puggy.  So here’s a quick thought on my favourite instance as triggered by today’s WoW Insider article.

5-man content

While I didn’t start in Wrath it’s the first expansion where I was there for the start and not level at the back of the curve constantly trying to catch up.  As a guild we never really looked inside much of the TBC, however we go

TBC – The Steamvaults : Which I have a soft spot for in a “damn that hurt, but we got him” way.  It took us ages to get the end boss in there nailed.

Wrath – The Old Kingdom : It’s long, it’s painful, the “Room of Many Wipes” was a hell of a challenge before the “great nerf of 2010” but from a tanking persepective it’s a bloody interesting instance to handle.  Lots of awareness needed, good pulls, hell even CC is a benefit at level.

Cataclysm – Vortex Pinnacle : This currently has my seal of approval, the look of the instance is wonderful.  Blizz have outdone themselves.  The trash hurts and needs planning, the mechanics make for interesting fights and then there’s the windy dragon on heroic.  Possibly my favourite boss at the moment to tank.

A statement from your tanks

This is a statement I can sign up to, I’ve been avoiding PUGs on my tank like the proverbial plague.  Simply put I’m going to let a bunch of dps who just want to concentrate on their rotation ruin the game for me, I’ll be sticking to guild only runs (doesn’t matter which one, I’ve two to choose from) where I know I can get people on vent/teamspeak, shout out what I’m doing know that CC will happen without me having to demand it and so on.

We, the Tanks, are not born with the infinite knowledge of how to perfectly tank everything and are not born with the gear of the gods. Your constant demeaning, insulting and outright aggression of would be Tanks will not create more or better tanks but only less tanks.

Those of us who will survive this crucible of hatred you are putting us through will emerge as your new Gods and Overlords. And we shall be as cruel as and as merciless as you have made us. You shall kiss our feet, speak only when allowed to and above all, obey our every command to the letter, lest you shall be sent to the voids of the groupless, there to wait for as long as your gods please.

Be warned that unless you change your ways henceforth, the next two-year will be a living hell for you.

Signed Morehnai, Tank of Silvermoon

The heroics rock, they also hurt.  They also rock a lot.

My favourite encounter so far from a tanking perspective has the dragon boss (the one with shifting winds) in Vortex Pinnacle.  It requires a stack of awareness, movement, threat monitoring, and trying to keep the boss pointing in the direction where the dps are gonig to get the minimum of pain.

With a PUG it’s going to be a wipefest, even once some serious overgearing happens.

So, dear LFD please start treating everyone in the group with respect, start doing more than just nuking and use your brains.  This is the excellent aspect of the new instances, they require thought.  Do that and I’ll tank for you day and night.

Crowd control, there’s more than one way to do it

With Cata we have a fresh focus on crowd control, I love it.  The approach I’m taking is not to mark up the cc targets but give that responsibility to the other members of the team, it makes more sense.  The DPS all have a better idea of what their cc is good for, which mobs it can be used on most effectively and so on.  Once they’re done marking I’ll drop the X and skull onto my primaries and let the dps pull for me.

It works, it’s controlled and spreads the load and responsibilities which in my view helps remove the “dps are only good for nuking things” “tanks are epic and own the group” and all the other nasties which Wrath gave us from the entitlement crowd.

However what if you’re running in a class which hasn’t got an effective “lock down” cc?

Not a problem, cc isn’t just about taking mobs completely out of the fight, it’s also about minimising the damage they can do or helping the tank control position etc etc.

For example burning off some of the mana from a caster can help speed up the point they’ll come charging towards the tank, got a silence effect?  Wonderful that’s another ranged which is coming to have a chat to my plate covered arse.  Death Grip, bring it on, pull that caster over here and drop him in front of me where my AoE can give it a big cuddle.  Curse of tongues, slower casting means less damage or healing.

You get the idea.

All classes have extra abilities, now is the time to dust them off, shove them onto a keybind, go on.  Show us what you’re made of.

Baradin Hold

A mix of a raiding guild run with the addition of Kaylad wandered into Baradin Hold for the first time (Alliance on my realm is … “ineffective” at PvP) to have a quick look at Pit Lord Argaloth

So what did we learn?

  1. Trash
    The trash does a debuff, the debuff hurts like hell, it can one shot a tank doing around 500k damage.
    It stings a little.
  2. Argaloth
    The slash debuff hurts but is controllable with communication between the tanks, prompt taunting and intelligent use of cooldowns (other tank taunts, blow three stacks on Word of Glory, spam CS to get HRP up to three stacks ready to taunt and blow shield as an instant burst of threat). 

    The fel firestorm is actually easy enough to handle, stand still watch for a meteor coming down on your head, move before it lands into clear space, rinse, repeat.  The two teams then form back up, make sure the tanks are communicating to ensure they know which one is picking up.

After about 4-5 pulls we hit the enrage.

Next step for the team, more hit on the dps, more D on the dps, come back and kill him.

HRP – Holy Rogue Power

The problem with Cataclysm

I do have one problem with Cataclysm, which is neatly summed up by NPC Comic

The shaman is currently in the 60’s with heirlooms on, simply so I can nuke through the Outland content as fast as I can.  To delay the moment of entering the old content he worked through all the possible quests in the Blasted Lands (though this was also to see the new content properly at level, hurrah for Worgen goodness).

Anyway, once I get back onto the levelling grind at the lower levels he’s on the priority list to get through and out of Northrend as quickly as possible.


Travel in Cataclysm

There have been many miles of text written about how the removal of the portals in Dalaran and Shattrath is a terrible idea and it’s a waste of time travelling around, how Blizzard is evil and so on and so forth.  So let’s step back and look at the travel within the newly broken world, ignoring for the moment flight paths and boat / zeppelin paths.

So we have the following routing for the Cataclysm / Vanilla zones.  Stormwind and Ogrimmar are clearly the transport hubs, they have portals to get to all the new content, a clear route to get out to Outland and (if we look at the boat/zeps) a route into Northrend.

Looking at Northrend specifically there are some additional ways to get up into the Wrath content, but these are mostly open only to those who have completed it, or have gold to splash around on shiny rings.

The only weakness I’m seeing is access to TBC / Wrath content, but to be honest if you’re levelling then it’s unlikely that there will be much travel outside of those areas.  With the addition of auction houses, trainers and the like there is no reason to travel back to your favourite “home” city, in fact prior to 4.0.3 it was essential to travel home to use the auction house or get trained.  There simply was no option, training was a break in the levelling flow only made viable by the portals, this change actually makes more sense in that the toon questing through Outland and Northrend remains immersed in the zone fighting the expansion appropriate baddies, even though we know from the splash screen that Arthas has been kicked where it hurts and Bolvar has taken his place.

Nice security on that secret Tirion.

Enjoy the changes, mages get to make a bit of cash from their class perk.  I doubt it’s going to be huge amounts, those offering the service on my realm are doing it for tips only.


It’s been only a week, in which I have played the game possibly more than is reasonable.  Our mains have reached 85, the tag team paladin wrecking ball didn’t find anything in the questing content yet which was a blocker (the maw out in the highlands was a bit of a challenge on the timing front).

Korenwolf hit his first heroic last night, by the gods it hurt.

I’m writing up a few things at the moment so hopefully there will be more stuff here later this week.